Pilates Frequently Asked Questions
What is Pilates?
Pilates has proven itself for over 80 years as an effective and safe method of exercise. It has been the workout of choice for dancers and gymnasts for decades. Only recently has the word Pilates worked itself into the mainstream. The program works. It will make you look better, feel better, and move better. There should be no doubt that Pilates can work for you whether you are in your 20s or 30s and want to keep the movement and flexibility you now enjoy, or if you are in your 40s, 50s, or 60s and want to recapture your balance and fluidity of movement or simply to keep up with your grandkids. Pilates will work for you if you're a skier, golfer, tennis, baseball, or football player. There is no question Pilates can help you. Find out what Tiger Woods, Madonna, and the NFL Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49'ers, and professional dance companies in New York City, Atlanta, and Philadelphia have all discovered: Pilates!
How Does Pilates Work?
Imagine an exercise program that you look forward to, that engages you, and that leaves you refreshed and alert with a feeling of physical and mental well-being.The Pilates Method (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) of body conditioning will do all this . . . and more!
Developed in the 1920s by the legendary physical trainer and founder of The New York Pilates Studio®, Joseph H. Pilates, The Pilates Method is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk. Not surprisingly, some of the first people to use the Pilates Method were dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine.
The Pilates Method is not just exercise, however. It is a series of controlled movements engaging your body and mind, performed on specifically designed exercise apparatus and supervised by extensively trained teachers.
What are the benefits of the Pilates Method?
The Pilates Method of body conditioning promotes physical harmony and balance for people of all ages and physical conditions while providing a refreshing and energizing workout.
Because conditioning sessions are done one-to-one with a certified teacher or in closely supervised small groups, each session is tailored to your specific needs.
Regardless of your current level of fitness - from sedentary office worker to fitness enthusiast - the Pilates Method can be your primary mode of body conditioning and injury prevention.
Recently discovered by physical therapists, chiropractors and orthopedists, The Pilates Method of body conditioning can also be integrated into rehabilitative exercise and physical therapy programs designed to speed recovery of soft tissue injuries.
The Pilates Method can be safely used by pregnant women to learn proper breathing and body alignment, improve concentration, and recover body shape and tone after pregnancy.
You will notice:
Flatter and stronger stomach
Longer and leaner muscles
Just plain look and feel better
After your very first session, you will notice a sense of elongation and the feeling of standing up straighter. You will also feel the center or “core” of your body being used to initiate movement. If you continue on a regular program of at least twice a week you will notice the changes to your body after each session. You will feel more flexible and begin to feel firmer in your abdomen, buttocks and your posture will be more upright.
As Joseph Pilates has said, “after 10 sessions you will feel better, after 20 sessions you will look better and after 30 sessions you will have a new body!”
Is Pilates a workout?
We view Pilates first and foremost as a workout. Although we incorporate principles of rehabilitation, breath control, and stretching into our workouts, these activities do not represent the method’s fundamental purpose.
The primary purpose of Pilates is to challenge the healthy body with an ordered sequence of exercises that target your deep, core muscles. If you have tried Pilates before and think it is too "easy," then you haven't experienced it the way Joseph Pilates intended.
If you have an injury or special condition, we will accommodate it with special modifications, but you will also get a workout. And, of course, you can enjoy private sessions (ideal if you are new to Pilates).
Is Pilates Right for Me?
#1 Are you physically fit, but have plateaued in your program at the gym?
Then, yes, Pilates will challenge you in exciting, new ways. You will develop important, core muscles that are usually ignored in the gym and apply your mind to the workout so that boredom will become a thing of the past.
#2 Are you basically healthy but haven't exercised in years?
Then, yes, Pilates will get you moving safely at the intensity appropriate for you. You will learn how to modify exercises at first to make them accessible to you, and as your strength grows, you will learn to work without the modifications and to challenge yourself more deeply.
#3 Are you basically healthy with mild to moderate back pain?
Then, yes, Pilates will strengthen the deep, core muscles that support your spine. Your back will feel better after just one session. If you currently see a chiropractor on a regular basis, Pilates is the perfect complement. As you strengthen your core, you will hold onto your adjustments longer, and you will make better, long-term progress.
#4 Are you an athlete looking to improve your performance?
Then, yes, by developing your core musculature, Pilates will enable you to perform your sport with greater control and stability. For sports that tend to over-develop one side of the body (i.e. golf, baseball), Pilates will restore balance in your body.
#5 Are you planning to get pregnant or recovering from your pregnancy?
Then, yes, Pilates is the perfect plan for you. A strong core is essential for your pregnancy! Strength and control in these core muscles are crucial for maintaining good posture, pushing during a natural delivery, and for recovery after the birth of your baby.
Why is Pilates unlike other exercise programs?
Unlike conventional exercise programs, Pilates focuses on developing the deep, stabilizing muscles of the body: the transversus abdominus (deepest ab), the spinal erectors, the deep gluteals, among many others. These are postural, stabilizing muscles that enable the movement muscles to do their job.
Pilates, then, conditions you 'from the inside out,' by uniformly developing all the key stabilizing muscles of the body. As a result, your posture improves, aches and pains go away, and you develop a graceful ease of movement that other people are likely to notice.
If I practice Pilates, what results am I likely to experience?
Here are some specific benefits most regular Pilates practitioners experience:
increased core strength and stability
increased strength and flexibility without bulk
enhanced ease of movement
heightened body awareness
improved sports performance
improved balance, coordination, and circulation
Who can do Pilates?
Nearly anyone. The beauty of the Pilates method is that it is adaptable to anyone's level of conditioning. De-conditioned older folks and rehab patients benefit from the spring-assisted equipment exercises that gently guide their body through anatomically correct planes of movement.
Many elite athletes use the method to enhance their flexibility and to more deeply challenge their core. Most people fit somewhere between these extremes of physical condition, and under the direction of a qualified trainer, they can benefit immeasurably from the method.
Seniors, as well as others with special conditions, should receive private training, rather than taking group classes. That way, they will be certain to work according to their individual abilities and needs.
I'm very overweight. Should I lose weight before starting Pilates?
Not necessarily. We have worked with numerous overweight people, and many have done quite well in private sessions and group classes.
Depending on your size, being heavy can restrict your movement in some exercises. That doesn't mean you can't do Pilates; you just have to recognize your present limitations and modify exercises accordingly. We will help you do that.
What is the best way to get started with Pilates?
Private, individual instruction is always the best way to get started (and progress!) in Pilates. With private sessions individually tailored to your specific needs and ability level, you will see results faster. However, we realize not everyone is ready to invest in premium training packages. Others prefer the dynamics of small group classes.